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In this episode of the Start Fierce Business Podcast, I chat with brush calligraphy artist Sharisse DeLeon of Pieces Calligraphy. Sharisse has been into handwriting all her life, and for the past year has been experimenting with brush calligraphy.

She started her blog to share some of her work and tips on how followers can learn how to do it themselves. At first she considered calligraphy a hobby but she’s been finding ways to monetize her work.

Her first live workshop is coming up in Sacramento, California and sold out in the first day.

Discussed in this episode

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Welcome to the show Sharisse. Thanks Cindy. Tell us about yourself outside of your business. Alright, so outside of my business. I am a mom to two twin boys. They’re two and a half have a husband and we live in Sacramento, California and I work full time so my day job consists of sitting in a cubicle and

Looking at spreadsheets and dealing with a lot of budget stuff, so it’s very different from this side passion that I’ve really developed outside of my business. I just love to be there with my family. Before the kids. I was an avid snowboarder, and I play volleyball and I still play volleyball actually. So yeah, that’s a little bit about me. So tell us about your business and how you got started. I do brush calligraphy and brush calligraphy is this modern way of writing that I’ve just really been attracted to. In the past year, All my life I’ve really been into handwriting and just developing really pretty designs. I didn’t really think there was any money to be made or a business that you could even pursue. I just thought that was a hobby or just a thing that you do and last year is when I started noticing a lot more calligraphy and

Modern type writing online and and on social media. And so I started asking around and started doing my own research and realized it was a thing. And there’s actually a really big calligraphy and hand lettering community out there. And so I just wanted to be a part of it. And so I just started trying it and asking for tips and help and then I kind of started sharing my work and once I realized I’d like got positive feedback and encouragement. It just really pushed me to keep learning and keep trying to be better.

It’s really funny because the online community has really brought me to even reaching out to people across the globe. Even though we don’t we’ve never met it’s just really cool to connect on this basically this art this art form that we all love and have our own styles. And so that brought me to be interested in how I could make money today.

Get something sustainable because it takes up a lot of time away from my family and other things. So I don’t want it to be about the money. But the business aspect helped me to maybe take it to the next level and just see what else I could do with it. And that’s how I found you because I’m a graphic designer, but when I have to make a logo, I usually buy a fall or use a font that I have. Mm hmm. I think it was like, towards the end of last year. I’m like, you know what, I want to learn how to make my own stuff. So I was looking on how to do the calligraphy stuff, and I came across your work, and I loved it. I even bought the Tombo pen that you say, like I used it, like one time I was looking at some of your tutorials and stuff, that’s what caught my eye about you. I I really loved your stuff. I went on, I don’t have an Instagram but I clicked on your Instagram and I saw the cool stuff that you do, and I think it’s gorgeous. So what do you enjoy most about what you do? I

Enjoy a lot of things. My top things I enjoy would probably be simply inspiring others just like yourself to hear that you’re even interested. That just makes my day. I love being able to share this passion for letters and handwriting because I always thought it was just something kind of geeky or you know, just only artsy people are into that. But inspiring people who even never thought of picking up a pen in a way to design things or create pretty writing that just makes my day also I what I enjoy is teaching, teaching what I know. So it’s one thing to inspire someone to get started, but when I can teach them and they come back to me with feedback that I’ve actually helped them improve that just makes all of this worth it. I put out a lot of content, I just try to share what I know and to hear that it’s helped someone along in their own journey. That’s exactly what I’m in.

For to help them experience what I’ve experienced just the joy of learning this craft and getting better at it to make things for your own self or for your own friends and family. So you do teaching. Do you have like online courses up right now? Or do you do workshops? And if so, where can we go to sign up for those? That is a great question. And it’s kind of the theme of my whole 2016. So first of all, I did launch my first well not launch but I announced my first workshops coming up in the first weekend of April, and those are in person, okay, local workshops. So they’ll be in Sacramento and they actually sold out on the first day I announced them I was thrilled but also really overwhelmed with that. That’s been something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. And it just took a while to get that all put together. And so I’ll definitely be considering hosting more. I just want to get my feet

Wet first and see how this goes. And as for online classes, that’s definitely in the works. Because already I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me from not just across the US, but across the world. You know, I’d love to take your class, but I’m in London. I’m in. I’m in Australia. And first of all, that’s just mind blowing. But second, I think the online class would be a great way to share with them and go deeper than what’s on the blog and on Instagram because those are just snippets of what I teach. But a cohesive and comprehensive online class would be really great to reach out to someone who I can’t see in person, but can definitely take them through the journey for what a brush calligrapher would want to know from the beginning. Oh, and as for where to those, I have a page on my blog, but right now the information is just for the workshops. So I have this workshops page which is going to be

Basically where I will be building and sharing the information for all of those things coming up. So that’s where you’d find everything on my blog on my workshops page, what advice would you give to someone who wanted to get started in doing handwriting until I. Griffey first kind of spend some time browsing whether it’s on social media or on the internet and just kind of getting a feel for what different styles are out there and then pick one pick one to just kind of copy on your own and practice you don’t necessarily when you get started, have to have the perfect tools which is what I really love about this art. Of course down the road. You want to get better tools that do the job really well but you can even just pick up a pencil or a ballpoint pen. I’ve even used Crayola markers just lying around the house. And the key for me in terms of what has helped me the most is just studying how to form letters because a lot of time you’re tempted to just start writing, you see these beautiful pieces and you think, Oh, I want to write a whole song, I want to write a whole poem, and you get started. And then you realize my writing kind of looks okay. Or it looks just like my regular handwriting. How do I make it look really pretty are really more like calligraphy. And so I think the best advice is just to kind of slow down and learn the letter forms and how to build them. And then it’s not that you always have to write that way. But it’s nice to build those basics and have that foundation and then from there, you can start tweaking. It’s kind of like when you learn the rules, and then you break the rules you you want to know how is the letter bill? How do you form them, and then I think that’s the best way to set yourself up for success to then make tweaks or try different styles and you start playing around with more advanced concepts now that your muscle memory is there like you already know how to make the letters So that would be my

Advice just to kind of pick a style, try it. And if you don’t like it, then try another one. But don’t try to do everything. You just have to kind of start slowly and step by step, which I know is really hard. I’m really impatient myself.

So it’s something even I have to remind myself. Okay, that’s good advice. And what is your greatest challenge as an entrepreneur, my greatest challenge, at least in this very moment is definitely juggling at all I’ve come to like, realize that no matter how hard I try, I can’t find that 25th hour in the day I have to embrace the fact that I still only have 24 hours. So between my day job and between being a parent and also a wife, and you know, just a friend and family member I mean, those are all things that take up so much time and leave not very much for calligraphy. And so just finding time and making time is my biggest struggle and something that I have to do better at is saying no because I love to people please and I just don’t like letting people down I hate having to tell them no but when I say yes to everything it just spreads me so thin and so I think saying no to certain things will allow me to focus more on the things that are more important or at least things are important right now so then I could do really well with those and then probably say yes to those other things later like at a better time in my life in when did you know that you were an entrepreneur it’s funny I I didn’t really think of myself as one but a listen to this podcast by Sean McCabe at Sean West calm and you would start explaining that you know you need to sustain yourself unless you want to constantly do this for free which is fine but at one point you’re going to want to have something some revenue coming in to help you do even more with what you’re doing and he’s totally right because as much as I want to keep doing this. It’s hard. Like just even putting out a blog post or a video every week I sometimes Little by little, I’m starting to wish I had just a personal assistant or someone help me out with the little things because that would just help free me up for more content building and more pursuing my ideas. But if I’m stuck editing, or posting or fixing little things, like how can I hire someone if I’m not making money? And so at this point, it’s a one person show. So I guess I started to realize that being an entrepreneur is in my path. If I want to do more with this passion of mine, that’s definitely something that a lot of us struggle with. I feel like especially creative people. We have a hard time with getting help. Oh, totally. It’s really hard, especially if you don’t like for me personally, I have no background in business or finance. I mean, I wouldn’t know the first thing in managing a business but I think a key to success is also hiring the right people. And once you find those people you trust and you know it, your goals can change. But and I should take my own advice he but definitely delegating and finding ways to streamline processes. I mean, after a while I realized that, Oh man, this is something that I could totally delegate or have someone else do this who might even do it better than me. You have that control you want, you want to make sure it’s done, right. So you want to do everything aside from not wanting to work for someone else. And aside from your family, what is your why, I guess it just makes me happy writing has a really therapeutic and relaxing way about it. And so it’s one thing to do it for myself, but I guess just to do it for other people and to make them happy and to feel like I am making an impact in the world. I mean, on a big large scale that sounds really cheesy or just kind of cliche, but

There’s like a quote out there. I forget who says it. But it’s one thing to know your gift. But it’s another thing to give it away and to share that with others. And so that’s what really gets me to keep doing what I’m doing. And what’s your favorite internet resource or app? Oh, that’s so hard because I’m such a hard copy girl that I’m actually on the hunt for a good one. And I’ve seen a lot of things out there. I mean, I’m really simple between just using the Google programs. I don’t really have an app that helps me too much. And I’m open to suggestions. But I have probably 500 notes in my cell phone. I think for me, once I’ve written something down, it’s not really so much that I use that you know, whether it’s an app or a program but it’s kind of the process of getting it out of my head. That really helps me Okay, so that’s not really what I have conquered yet with finding an hour

Evernote it’s a good one. You can take all those notes and you can like put them in different notebooks and categorize them. So it’s the same thing except you can categorize them search for stuff and then you can have the app on your phone and you can also have the app on your computer and all that like I have all of my interview notes on my Evernote. Gotcha so what’s on your bucket list it’s definitely not skydiving which is a common why Lee to bring just my family around the world I can’t even say exactly where but just to get started even in our own country and traveling yeah just just bringing my family around the world whether it’s you know to my homeland which is in the Philippines and I also have my my dad’s his dad is from China that would be really great to to go back and and just show my family where we’re from and then I went with my husband to Europe a little bit after we got married and we always talked about bringing the kids there one day and they’re only two so we’re definitely not going anytime soon but that would be an ultimate thing to cross off on my list to bring them to Europe what’s the best way for listeners to get in touch with you listeners can go to my website at pieces calligraphy dot com. That’s where everything is I share all of my tutorials and my tips in one of the pages called the Learn page. So I laid out pretty nicely where if you want to learn you can click there and find everything. If you want to check out my blog you can see the latest things that I’ve been writing. You can also find my me on social media. I’m the most active on Instagram and my handle is pieces calligraphy. I’m also trying to do more on Periscope it’s this live broadcasting program. That one’s been a little hard though just to squeeze time between the the boys naptime and doing other duties, but that’s where you can find me. Oh, and of course on YouTube, I have a channel there at pieces calligraphy. And it’s really kind of cool. Because whether you’re more visual or more, or you just like to read the blog posts and videos kind of line up nicely where I go into depth on both of those on the same topic. So you can kind of bounce back and forth between the the writing and then the demonstration will series thank you so much for sharing your story with us today. Thanks for having me. It was really great to share what I do. So thank you, Cindy. You’re welcome. I loved having you on.


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